Thanos was killed in Avengers: Endgame, but death doesn't have to be the end for the Mad Titan. The character can still return at some point in the MCU's future. If Marvel Studios wants to make Thanos like his comic counterpart, Thanos can be one villain who never stays dead for long.

Resurrection is a common theme in the comic books, but for Thanos, it's a regular occurrence. During a major storyline from the 1970s that involved the Avengers, Spider-Man, and some of Marvel's cosmic heroes, Thanos was famously killed by Adam Warlock. However, Marvel Comics brought back Thanos for Infinity Gauntlet, beginning a long-running trend for the Mad Titan. Thanos has died several times over the years, but always finds a way to come back. On some of these occasions, Marvel has explained his "death" by revealing that Thanos has created clones of himself. Most recently, Thanos' death came in the 2018 crossover Infinity Wars where Thanos was beheaded by his own daughter, Gamora.

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Thanos is arguably the Marvel Universe's greatest villain, and so far, the same can be said for the MCU version of the character. After being introduced in The Avengers in 2012, Thanos established himself as the biggest threat to the Earth. Over the course of several movies, Marvel Studios slowly built up to a conflict between the heroes of the MCU and Thanos. As someone who forced nearly every hero who has ever been in an MCU movie to band together for Marvel's largest team-up to date, Thanos has presented himself as the ultimate adversary in the MCU. With a reputation like that, is Marvel really done with Thanos?

The Original Thanos Is Dead (& The Infinity Stones Are Gone)

Thanos managed to accomplish everything he set out to do in Avengers: Infinity War. He gathered the six Infinity Stones, wiped out half of all life in the universe, and finally, he took some time to enjoy the sunset. Afterward, Thanos retired to a quiet life on an unnamed planet and became content, knowing that his lifelong dream had been fulfilled.

Knowing that the Avengers would return, Thanos used the power of the Infinity Gauntlet to destroy the Infinity Stones. This way, he could be certain that his actions could never be undone. Unfortunately for Thanos, there was a consequence that came with destroying the Stones. The process badly damaged his body. Thanos explained all of this to the Avengers when they ambushed him at his home, which happened just two days later. What was left of Earth's Mightiest Heroes gathered together to take the Stones, defeat Thanos, and restore the universe, but were crushed by the news that Thanos' victory was now irreversible.

The only thing left for them to do was to get retribution for the people who died. After a brief battle that was made easier by the fact that Thanos didn't put up much of a fight, Thor corrected his Infinity War mistake with Stormbreaker and went for the head. Thanos was killed, and half of the universe was avenged.

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The 2014 Thanos Was Beaten (But Only Like The Avengers Were)

When the Avengers used the Quantum Realm to travel into the past and retrieve the Stones before they were found by Thanos and the Black Order, they were opposed by an earlier version of Thanos. The original Thanos from the main timeline was dead, but now they had to deal with the 2014 Thanos, the one who had yet to find the Stones. The Avengers hit Thanos with everything (and everyone) they had, but even that wasn't enough. Thanos and his minions still outnumbered them.

That's when Tony Stark intervened with his makeshift Infinity Gauntlet. At the cost of his own life, Iron Man did to Thanos what Thanos did to half the universe in Infinity War. Iron Man used the combined power of the Infinity Stones to erase Thanos and all of his minions. They crumbled into dust, making this Thanos' second defeat in one movie.

Thanos' death isn't unlike what happened to Spider-Man, War Machine, Scarlet Witch, and so many other heroes who perished in Infinity War. While they died just as Thanos did, their deaths were undone by Professor Hulk, who brought them all back with the Infinity Stones. Professor Hulk proved that what the Infinity Stones can take away, it can also give back. If their deaths can be reversed, then it stands to reason that Thanos' death can be reversed as well. If someone were to gather up the Stones again, the 2014 Thanos could be brought back to life.

Time Travel Still Exists - And So The Infinity Stones Are Still Collectible

There are two known methods of time travel in the MCU: the Quantum Realm and the Time Stone. To access the former, Pym Particles are needed. Of course, there may be other, more magical methods of time travel that the MCU hasn't explored yet, but could in the future. Since a 1950s setting has been teased for Marvel's Disney+ series, WandaVision, it does seem like the shared universe is unlikely to now restrict itself to a single point in the timeline.

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As long as time travel is an option in the MCU, the resurrection of its greatest villain is also an option. Thanks to Thanos, the present-day Infinity Stones are gone, but the Avengers themselves have shown that their other ways to use their power. If someone possessed the means to travel through time, they could journey into the past, gather the Stones, and use them to resurrect Thanos. This of course begs the question: who would want to resurrect Thanos? The 2014 Nebula is dead, and the Gamora from that timeline ultimately turned against him, so Thanos has no known allies in either timeline.

All things considered, Thanos being brought back by the Infinity Stones is an unlikely scenario. The odds of any character possessing both the means and the motive to restore him are extremely low. That being said, it's still possible. So while Thanos may remain dead, the groundwork for his return has already been established.

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